Your Body During a Breakup: The Science of a Broken Heart

Breakups are emotional roller coasters. Actually that’s not true. If a breakup was anything like a roller coaster the end would be visible from the start, you could say ‘no thanks’ to the ride and at the end of it, for a hefty sum the memory could be savoured forever with a flimsy cardboard-framed photo.

Breakups are are more like being under a roller coaster. 

Before we knew the science we knew the feeling, and used words associated with physical pain – hurt, pain, ache – are used describe the pain of a relationship breakup. Now we know why. The emotional pain of a breakup and physical pain have something in common – they both activate the same part of the brain

Brain scans of people recently out of a relationship have revealed that social pain (the emotional pain from a breakup or rejection) and physical pain share the same neural pathways.

In one study, 40 people who had recently been through an unwanted breakup had their brains scanned while they looked at pictures of their exes and thought about the breakup. As they stared at the photos, the part of the brain associated with physical pain lit up.

[irp posts=”1144″ name=”Dear Broken Hearted One … When You’re In The Thick of a Break-Up.”]

As explained by researcher Ethan Kross, ‘We found that powerfully inducing feelings of social rejection activate regions of the brain that are involved in physical pain sensation, which are rarely activated in neuroimaging studies of emotion.’

He continues, ‘These findings are consistent with the idea that the experience of social rejection, or social loss more generally, may represent a distinct emotional experience that is uniquely associated with physical pain.’

In further support of the overlap between physical and social pain, Tylenol (an over the counter medication for physical pain) has been shown to reduce emotional hurt.

Research has found that people who took Tylenol (an over-the-counter medication for physical pain) for three weeks reported less hurt feelings and social pain on a daily basis than those who took a placebo.

The effect was also evident in brain scans. When feelings of rejection were induced, the part of the brain associated with physical pain lit up in participants who didn’t take Tylenol. Those who took Tylenol showed significantly less activity in that part of the brain.

Nobody is suggesting that the broken hearted turn to pain medication to reduce their lean towards Kleenex, Baskin-Robbins and repeated viewings of Love Actually. Long term use will cane the liver. Somebody else is waiting to fall in love with you, but you and your liver have to stay friends forever.

The Physical Side of a Broken Heart

The human brain loves love. Being in love takes the lid off the happy hormones, dopamine and oxytocin, and the brain bathes in the bliss. But when the one you love leaves, the supply of feel good hormones takes a dive and the brain releases stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine.

[irp posts=”1042″ name=”Letting Go: How to Master the Art”]

In small doses, stress hormones are heroic, ensuring we respond quickly and effectively to threat. However in times of long-term distress such as a broken heart, the stress hormones accumulate and cause trouble. Here’s what’s behind the physical symptoms of a breakup:

  • Too much cortisol in the brain sends blood to the major muscle groups. They tense up ready to respond to the threat (fight or flight). However, without real need for a physical response the muscles have no opportunity to expend the energy.

    Muscles swell, giving rise to headaches, a stiff neck and that awful feeling of your chest being squeezed.

  • To ensure the muscles have an adequate blood supply, cortisol diverts blood away from the digestive system.

    This can cause tummy trouble such as cramps, diarrhea or appetite loss. 

  • When stress hormones run rampant, the immune system can struggle, increasing vulnerability to bugs and illnesses.

    Hence the common ‘break-up cold’.

  • There is a steady release of cortisol.

    This might cause sleep problems and interfere with the capacity to make sound judgements 

  • Breakups activate the area of your brain that processes craving and addiction.

    Losing a relationship can throw you into a type of withdrawal, which is why it’s hard to function – you ache for your ex, sometimes literally, and can’t get him/her out of your head. Like any addiction, this will pass.

In a relationship, your mind, your body and the core of you adjust to being intimately connected someone. When that someone leaves, the brain has to readjust. The pain can be relentless but eventually the body chemistry will change back to normal and the hurt will diminish.

Getting through a breakup is as much a physical process as an emotional one. Remember that, and know that it will get easier. Keep going. You’ll get there.

516 Comments

Daniel

I was with my girlfriend for 2 years. We recently celebrated our 2 year anniversary. I moved in with her in her family home with her Mum & Dad. It all started off so perfect. We loved each other so much. We would do everything together, go on trips, holidays and talk about our future. I really thought she was the one and would’ve moved heaven and earth for her.

I always thought our relationship was perfect because she wouldn’t always express how she feels about situations so I couldn’t work on or fix issues I didn’t know about. She has a very good connection with her family, especially her Mum so she would always talk to her about issues, even issues we should spoke about but didn’t because she never told me.

Over the past year intimacy was out the window. It was a mixture of situations we was dealing with making me feel like I didn’t want to. Reflecting back now I wish we did. I could’ve done more, but apart from the intimacy, I didn’t realise the issues we was having. I thought we was in love as we was still carrying on like normal.

She recently broke up with me because of the lack of intimacy which wasn’t making her feel loved which I totally get, but I wish we could’ve dealt with the situation better because I love her so much and saw potential in our future.

When she ended it with me I was shocked as it was days ago we was with each other and celebrating our anniversary. We met and spoke about everything. It was hard, but I didn’t want to lose her so wanted to find out what went wrong. We said we would remain friends which I thought it’ll be great to prove myself to her again.

We shortly went on holiday after the breakup because we had planned it she’s ago. I was hopeful we would rekindle our relationship. The holiday started of fantastic. We wasn’t in a relationship so we didn’t do anything you do as a couple, but it was so nice to be around each other having a lovely time.

That was until I done something which I think has seemed any chance of us getting back together and I wish I didn’t do this because I feel we may of got back together until I messed up and I don’t think I’ll ever be forgiven for this.

I snooped on her phone (biggest regret) and saw she had messaged another guy shortly before we broke up. I’m glad I know the truth, but I confessed to going on her phone and she absolutely hates me now and says she won’t forgive me. I was forced to get a flight home early because I couldn’t be with her and I know I done wrong and I was in another country all on my own which I couldn’t deal with.

I’ve spent the last two days in bed sleeping and not eating. I feel like I can’t continue life and keep thinking why I snooped because if I didn’t there may of been a chance to get back together, but I also wouldn’t of known about this guy she messaged.

I don’t have friends and I’m a bit of an introvert, but she brought the best out of me. I know I’ve lost her for good. I don’t think she’ll ever forgive me for what I done but I don’t know how to deal with this now. I know time will heal, but I’ve just lost the love of my life. I don’t find relationship easy to start or find. I’m just lost living with regret and wish things were different.

Reply
Ivy

Hi Daniel,

I feel your pain and totally understand you.

Please forgive yourself.

The most important person to bring the best out of you is – you. Someone else will come, don’t doubt that, when we are ready or when it’s supposed to happen.

I believe she doesn’t deserve you, and it wouldn’t hurt her that much if she was “clean”. It has nothing to do with you.

She decided to leave the relationship and text someone else – she gave up. It’s your wound that needed to be healed, but finding someone who is hurting you more.. you know the result.

Give yourself what you need. We all are wounded, would be nice getting into relationships as healthier as we can. It seems to me, you need her because you feel afraid of future not because she really treated you right.

It’s not your fault. She was supposed to talk, to show she cares for staying in a relationship.

There are good women who will love and respect you, but please love and respect yourself first 💙

Reply
Harry

Daniel,

Bro don’t blame yourself for snooping one tiny bit. I went through something similar but 10x worse.

It was a good thing you snooped. It just accelerated things otherwise you’d be dreaming of getting her back for months.

She should have told you in the first place, which she didn’t. She was two-timing and then just picked someone that her mood told her to. She mentally crushed and destroyed the other guy who’s left hanging.

Women have 10 options always available to them. It’s only the guy that suffers always.

Keep it going buddy. She wasn’t a loyal girl and it’s better you are rid of her earlier than later.

Reply
T

You shouldn’t have to change who you are to fit into the relationship . You went with your gut and believe it or not, it saved you from even more heartache. If you feel the need to “snoop” the trust was already gone, you were just confirming you were right. It sucks.

Reply
Komal

Your breakup story is similar to me actually not similar its same like you.

Reply
Anushkaa A

I met someone at my office online in 2022, we started talking and it was the first time I got along with someone. We started flirting and then talking on the phone every day for 3 months and we developed immense feelings for each other over video call.I went to meet him in his city and we spent 15 days together. We met everyday. I knew from the start that I did not want to end up with him due to religion and other issues but it was the first time I liked someone and they liked me to that extent. We met and evrhthing but it all started after that meeting . Our feelings were intense and we both loved each other but I broke up with him after the trip because I was scared I’d fall for him more over time.it was hard .that’s why my crying episodes began . For the next 6 months we kept going back and forth . He kept pestering me tonget back , I would block him and then get weak and unblock him . I tried meeting other people but he kept coming back. My crying episodes just would not stop . His name his feeling anything related to him became a trigger that would make me cry and feel so emotionally overwhelmed. It’s been one year since then and we recently got in touch after Feb and I still got triggered the same way . He still asks me to get back , he gives me so much validation and wants to be with me . I like him a lot but I know we can’t end up together so I try to control but I get so emotionally overwhelmed and keep crying evrhthing I talk to him . I can’t even have a normal conversation without becoming emotional . It’s hectic . My heart aches. I’m not sure if this is love or I like him because of the Validation I get and the fuzzy feeling . I don’t understand these emotions and feelings and I don’t understand how to stop crying .

Reply
ruby

me and my long-time bf have been together for 3 yrs plus we’ve been in an LDR situation the whole time. the last time that we saw each other was when we were not yet exclusively dating (talking stage). we were both our first official relationship (although we have been into several flings prior to when we met).

everything seems to be doing great until our 3rd yr. quarrels seem to be our new normal. i started getting more insecure, jealous, & possessive— & it has been negatively affecting his performance in his work; (short background: we just recently got our bachelor’s degrees). idk, i wasn’t like this (at this extent of being paranoid) during our 1st 2 yrs. what if he meets someone more physically attractive, financially & mentally stable, or kinder & more understanding than me in his workplace or somewhere else? i have started to develop these doubts about him because when we were not yet exclusives dating, he has been talking to a lot of girls in our campus behind my back plus he had also one serious fling for 2 yrs before me whom he also cheated. he keeps on telling me that he has changed— & i can also see it in his efforts despite our distance, yet my mind is telling me otherwise. thoughts like him being happy w/ someone else is like a mental torture to me. i can’t afford to lose him.

i don’t have a concrete evidence that he’s really cheating rn, yet im being overly dramatic about it that i’ve been currently avoiding & ignoring his msgs for idk how long because of my pride, knowing to myself that i don’t like to beg or chase over someone. im only doing it because i wanna know if he really wanted to stay w/ me no matter how hard i am to deal w/ sometimes. i wanna get consistent reassurance that he does really love me & is committed to our relationship.

will he ever get tired of my attitude? will he ever wake up one day that im being too much to handle & he wanted a break? how do u overcome overthinking, jealousy, & insecurity? how do u ever fully trust someone w/o losing urself? how will u know if he truly values ur trust? thanks.

Reply
Anonymous

I am not sure if you still reply to comments but just recently i went through a hard breakup. I was with my boyfriend for almost 3 years. He was my absolute best friend. He knew me better then anybody and i know him better then anyone. We even lived together for about a year. All of his friends became my friends and we have a pretty good thing going. We had recently fell into this kind of downwhirl spiral but I was selfish and couldnt accept we needed to break up. Just yesterday he broke up with me. He told me he wants us to find eachother in the future when we have worked on ourselves and bettered ourselves. We cried together over the loss of our relationship and then he left.
What does he mean by we only wants this to be for a little bit?
Should i take that as a sign that we may get back together in the future? or is that unhealthy?
I feel like I should just have no contact with him and focus on myself but a part of me doesnt want to give up the idea we may get back together again in the future.

Reply
EmG

I’m not an expert, other than having lived through more breakups than the average person (or so it seems), including dealing with one now and quite miserable. The best thing is to move forward and work on yourself. This doesn’t close off the possibility of reconnecting, but waiting for him and stagnating most likely does. Try to limit contact (or go no contact – I have mixed feelings on whether that is always needed; situational for me) for a set amount of time. Say, 3 weeks. As much as you can, spend that time journaling, talking to friends, exploring areas you want to improve. Who do you want to be in your next relationship – whether that is a new relationship w/ him, or a new person? Work towards that. At the end that time period, reevaluate whether you want to reach out to him. You could even let him know of your plan, if you both truly hope that there is a future for you. Good luck; I know how hard this all is. I’ve had loved ones struggle w/ addiction and thought this article nailed it with that comparison. It can physically hurt to let go. 🙁

Reply
Nike

Please say something to me ,
I loved her almost 2 years but got to confess after I got some courage she also flirted so I thought it’s the time ,but after we got into a relationship everything was fine but still it’s a long distance relationship, tragedy is that we didn’t last atleast 3 months it was almost . She suddenly asked to stop till her exams over after that she said we better break up . I dunno it was last December why is she still in my head ,so unfair and it hurts ,why she doesn’t understand how much pain I’m carrying on 6 months passed why I can’t move on ?????

Reply
Daniele

I’m so sorry to hear about your breakup😩. As you mentioned, you’re not only mourning the loss of a romantic partner but also a best friend (I’ve totally been there and it sucks).

Only you can know what your bf was saying, however based on your message it sounds like he is saying that you both need space from each other to grow and that maybe in the future you can reconnect. I would use this as an opportunity to become the best version of yourself and to build a life you would love to live.

I agree with you completely that if you’re breaking up, you need no contact for a while. Otherwise it’s not a breakup, and both of you are delaying the pain. The best thing you can do is get support and work through it with a professional. This is how you can truly move forward and grow as a person.

Wishing you all the love and support during this painful and confusing time🙌. I promise you it gets better. And there may even be a day where you find someone who’s better for you and the life you’re building.

Reply
Soldier

Hi There.

I read ur previous post on the 7th April. It’s been three weeks past and was wondering if you still have doubts on what to do remember people get in a relationship and out of relationships cause their first reflex of habit in dating is when something is too hard get out and find a better fit. That’s what he is doing and if he doesn’t find anything better they will come back to you. Ask yourself do you want that in your life? The real test of when someone loves u unconditionally they keep choosing you everyday and never give up on working to get better together not apart.
Hope this helped someone.

XOXO
Soldier Girl

Reply
Jacko

Good answer. When you truly love someone. Leaving is the last thing on your mind. You want to make it work. And you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. Separating isn’t really an option. Anyone who disagrees hasn’t really been in love.

Reply
Jess

Hi Soldier Girl and everyone else in the thread,

You have no idea how much your words have tremendously helped me today.

After the end of my relationship, all everyone talks about is moving on. But I found myself totally an emotional train wreck, clueless about where to start with this gut-wrenching feeling. All the what ifs, the what should have been-s, what could have been-s. What nobody tells me is that acceptance and letting go is not always liberating, especially in the beginning. It hurts a lot more than one would expect.

Reply
Karly

I am dealing with the same thing. I think it makes it better to know that you are not alone. Maybe you two will end up together maybe you won’t but I believe that what’s meant to be WILL be. My boyfriend said the same thing to me in January, and he finally said he doesn’t see us getting back together so in my case, it didn’t happen. I don’t want you to waste 4 months like I did. It was horrible hoping he’d call, text I’d make changes to see if he’d notice. It wasn’t fair to me. I thought our relationship was perfect and was blindsighted. I pray to god there is something better out there and this is the universe telling me so. The pain is almost unbearable but I’m reading that EVERYONE gets through it. We have to hang in there…

Reply
Cassie S

I am experiencing the same thing right now. My boyfriend just said he wants a break and that I need to take care of myself before I can be good for anyone else! I feel that when someone asks for a break that actually means it’s over.
How many people actually get back together after a break! In my opinion if you love someone with your whole heart then you don’t give up! I have never had this feeling, even after my ex husband and I split, I actually have pain in my heart and it feels like it is fluttering… this must be a broken heart. Has anyone else ever experienced this feeling?

I have been texting and sending him messages. He told me I am crossing the boundaries that he has set with wanting a break!

Reply
Serena

This is so good to know, I’m going through the same things and I have waves of unbearable pain

Reply
Robin

Hi serena, I have gone through this phase. What helped me a lot was ..stop expecting from anyone. If you are expecting that means that will control you. Happiness, loves comes from within yourself. If you are angry that doesn’t mean someone entering in your body and triggering anger inside you…you are the one who is triggering that .. same goes for love. Manifest that no expectations of anything like love, support, happiness. That’s why happiness is choice because you control all the feelings inside you. So chose a best option. Good luck

Reply
Athena

Hi Serena, it is unbearable. I’m going through it right now and trying to find hope. I cry every day and journal through the pain. He ended things with me because he felt we were going on different paths. A week later he felt he’d made a mistake and wanted to get back together. I thought that if things didn’t work the first time, some change would be needed before getting back together. Sadly, he felt like me asking for him to have more options than weed to deal with stress was too much. I wanted to continue building a beautiful life together but couldn’t see a substance as a good long term fit. It’s weird when you and your partner love each other but see something like smoking weed so differently. Ultimately, that was the primary reason we couldn’t be together. He didn’t want to give it up, and I wanted my future kids to have a very present and healthy father. I’m in so much pain it’s unreal. I’d rather be in physical pain. All I can say is you’re not alone. There are many people in the world. This is all a part of our stories. We can’t know the ending, we have to take it one page or chapter at a time. I feel like I’m holding myself as a I die each day.

Reply
freya l

Hi Athena, how are you now?
I feel the same as you right now. Holding myself as I die each day. Love.

Reply
Prajaktha G

It’s so great to see so many comments here. I have been scouring the internet to find any semblance of relatability to this intense pain I am in. This is as much physiological as mental. I feel like I will end up alone forever. I’m 24.

I wasn’t even the one to be broken up with but after initiating the breakup, I feel like I won’t be able to make it without him. Don’t know if it’s my own already inculcated fears manifesting it was a wrong decision or if I’m just clouded by my brain. I just hope I get through this somehow. Great article btw, reduced my anxiety by 10% at least.

Reply
Kaitlyn v

I’m currently in a similar position. If I may ask, where are you now?

Reply
Jerry

Its like you have to love yourself and understand yourself everything will get better if he really meant for u he will be yours so don’t worry

Reply
Veronica

It was about a month since me and my girlfriend decided to go different paths. I really loved her and I guess she felt the same, but it does not matter anymore. We had so different needs and the mental illness just tore us apart. I do not know why but we never spoke about our future, no further plans or stuff. I was just so attached to her and grateful for her being by my side. I have never met anyone like her before, she were my best friend and partner. She told me that this decision is for our own good and well I belive her, but since she left me I can not control myself from feeling constant stress and anxiety. My heart only rest when I am thinking about her and when I force myself to stop it gets hard. What can I do? This stress can not be good for my system and health…

Reply
Hannah

I have been in a marriage for almost 14 years my spouse didn’t physically cheat but for sure emotionally cheated and even quit having sex with me he literally broke me heart he also threatened divorce multiple times because at one point he didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting pregnant and after I did he stayed with me but the emotional cheating was recent only a few months ago and still hurts I no longer trust him and he denies me any intimacy and has left me broken and I feel like I’m dying inside I can’t sleep I’m never hungry never have an appetite and hardly eat it has effected me so much and I cry a lot and unsure what to do I’m a Christian woman and want to do the right thing

Reply
Russell

I have a daughter with my ex (we was together for about 5 years) she sent me a message via whatsapp and left my life about 7 months ago .I can still see my daughter.

The anxiety and panic attacks are out of this world and I dont feel like the world is real. I think about my ex 24/7.

I been put on Citalopram/celexa for my panic attacks.

I litterly feel crippled by this and want to spend most of my time sleeping.

I don’t know what to do.

I hope this medication would make me feel more normal.

Reply
Avery

My girlfriend and I were best friends for two years and we were in a relationship for 10 months. We both loved eachother a lot, go to the same college, live in the same dorm, and go to the same Church. We had a lot of fond and fun memories, had both of our first kiss and first love together although we had been in other relationships before. We both had a true connection. However, we are both 19 and I was a football captain at my school, I am very muscular, don’t curse, study the Bible hard, and a, trying to get into Vet school. I have been told by her and other girls that I am very good looking, so attraction was definitely there. However I also treated her well, I would hold her when she cried or was cold, I would always pick her up, and I was always giving my time to her and making sure she knew she was my priority. She also came from a very strict Baptist family where all the members get married young, like 19 or 23. We both worked out good together and I told her I would marry her after college and she wanted that as well. However in the last month she said her spirit had been troubled so she had to break up with me to please God, I’m not really sure why, but she told me that God wanted her to be alone, and God wanted to punish us for being together because she wasn’t called for marriage. It was very shocking because the reason I was willing to marry young was for her, and she was crying, but I had a breakdown where I cried a lot, and tried to make the relationship work, and I even begged her to stay. My sister was there and said I acted like a big baby, but a lot of people included her friends say that is normal in a break up. My girlfriend however blamed me in the end for my reaction and said she knew why her spirit was troubled and said to please not text her again. Her Ex best girlfriend when she told her she broke up with me because her spirit was troubled actually defended me and stuck by me. She told me I did nothing wrong, and so did one of the girls that is still friends with her. One says to never take her back, and another says maybe on a rainy day you all will reconnect again. It has been 4 months and I have been asked on 3 dates and although they were fun I don’t feel anything meaningful. Also in the relationship we pursued God, stayed abstinent, did Bible studies, and went to Church together as well as talk about our beliefs.

Reply
M

We were friends first for a long time, and then I started to catch feelings. Which I knew wasn’t the smartest decision because he wasn’t a Christian and I was, and I wanted to date a man who had the same values as me. But I was sucked in, and 8 months later we started dating. The next few months from there would be beautiful but torturous, as I fell more in love with him but I knew I was in the wrong, and I began to abandon myself and my values and strong friendships that kept me on course with God. A few months later, however, I broke up with him but ironically stayed in touch with him because I couldn’t bear the thought of being without him and because he was my best friend for so long. After a month of not being together, we got back together because I basically said “screw it”, and up until this last Tuesday, we were together. It was so fun, and I’ve never felt understood or loved by someone this much. It hurts deeply and I’m not sure how to cope. It’s like I can’t breathe, my safe place and my person is being torn away from me and I don’t know who I am without him. I’m so broken and lost. All I want to do is run back to him again and lose myself in him. I don’t know what to do and I feel so so alone. I need people around me but I’m so ashamed and I don’t know who to go to.

Reply
mary a p

I know this post is over a year old and I hope you are getting this…I found this site because I;m so depressed over a break up and I had to find some answers. My heart just aches for all the people who posted and I wish you all love and comfort. I;m replying to you specifically though because I’m in the exact same situation. I too abandoned my Christian beliefs to be ‘all in ‘ with a guy. It was my first relationship since getting divorced 14 years ago. This guy couldn’t make up his mind whether he wanted to be friends or more.It was confusing,but I was hungry for affection and I settled for crumbs. I;m broken. Eating and sleeping has been affected. Nothing makes me happy. But everyone says that this will get better with time. And we have to believe that. I;m in my 60’s and you;d think I would know better. But the heart wants what the heart wants,you know. But it deceives us. That’s why we are in so much pain. Ill just continue to work on my relationship with God,and pray . If we pray to Him every day and pour our hearts out,then I think that will help. Meantime I take fish oil to ease depression. Only helps a tiny bit but it;s better than nothing…Thinking of getting a therapist too. Boy,this is hard… I hope you are doing much better!

Reply
K.

I can’t sleep, I can’t eat… I can’t sit in silence without thinking of him. I feel confused, lost and sick… my soul aches. I fell in love. I fell in love with a friend. I fell in love with a friend who had feelings and wanted to date me, but I wasn’t ready. I had never been ready for love. Later I was, and I told him I had feelings too, I wanted to date him too… but he had changed his mind, he didn’t want to get hurt, he didn’t want a relationship. We stayed friends. I should have left if I had the littlest of respect for my heart but I stayed. Because I wanted to be with him, even if we were just friends. Friends in love. Then he left. He said, he couldn’t talk to me anymore… that he didn’t want to get attached… that he didn’t want to get hurt. Why was my first love with someone I couldn’t even be with? Why does it hurt so much… we only knew each other for a little over two months. I feel like I’m drifting into a state of nothing, into a place of emptiness, falling into myself inside my mind… I don’t know what I want anymore. I just hope the hurt away… and I hope he forgets me, because I don’t wish to cause him pain. I hope he forgets me and doesn’t think our love was a mistake… God I hope he’s okay.

Reply
Latika

You can talk to good people around you. Just see do you want this life where you are not happy or positive. Trust me this a process and you are going to get over him. There are over 8 billion people in this whole world and someone out there is waiting to love you. Still if you want to talk you can talk to me.

Latika

Reply
nicole

this is my exact situation, i’m currently going through this and i hope you’re doing better <3

Reply
Liz

Dear K.

There is no pain that lts forever, what you feel is part of this process of growing, two months is minimum comparing with the amount of many months of happiness you will experience with someone that truly loves you no matter what.
Keep up and be kind with yourself, that pain will go over for sure!

Reply
Jane T

I’ve gotten myself into a terribly bad situation and really need advice. I had been dating this guy for almost a year, our relationship began getting rough towards the end for the reason that I think is I didn’t find him the most attractive. He treats me like absolute gold and I love him for being him and for everything he does. Towards the end our sex stopped happening and it got more and more rough until I said we needed to end things. Shortly after that I slept with someone and it made me feel terrible that I did so, so quickly. As my ex was and is still deeply in love with me and doesn’t understand what he did wrong to loose me. I stopped talking to my ex and me and this other guy began staying together and continued what we were doing with the label “Friends With Benefits” we promised if anyone caught more feelings we would let one another know and be completely honest. I was not interested in another relationship. But one thing led to another and I caught feelings and once telling him he told me he felt exactly the same.

Although for some reason I still wanted a connection with my ex, he was always in the back of my mind. I wanted to be friends with him. Things got messy I tried having that friendship but the other guy I was talking to could not handle it. Our feelings had grown to strong and jealousy began forming. We were getting jealous about things one another would do and we were fighting. I did stop talking to my ex for him for about a week because I noticed it was hurting him that I did so and seeing him so down was hurting me. That week he was so happy but I was not, I wanted to make a friendship work with my ex, I missed him in my life. I didn’t understand how I was feeling, how could I be having feelings for both of these men. One day something snapped in me and I realized I need to start doing things for me to make myself happy instead of always trying to be the people pleaser. So I hung out with my ex and once I told this other guy things blew up and he told me I had to choose between them.

I shut down and said I can’t do that, I’ve developed strong feeling for both this guy and care about him so much. But I also think I may still be in love with my ex. My ex and I talked, I told him I had been sleeping with this other guy shortly after we ended. But, still has strong feelings for me and wants to get back together. On the other hand the other guy is so broken now, what we thought was going to be friends with benefits turned into so much more… It’s hurting me to see him this way and I have no idea what I should do. I think I’m in love with both of these guys… I don’t know what to do.

Reply
Jess

OMG I’m literally in the same boat and tearing me up inside I just want to vanish disappear so bad 😭

Reply
Nelly

It would’ve been 10 years in December, he was my best friend, soul mate, my safe zone and the person I couldn’t wait to see every single day, the person that made my day feel better when he held me. He is muslim, I am catholic, we kinda had a secret relationship but not. He met my friends and family early on, but I was never introduced to his family and friends, of course I know why, having a girlfriend when you’re Muslim is frowned upon, but I held on because I fell in love and thought it would all work out. My family would question me on where it was going and constantly said I would experience struggles in the future, (although they liked him very much, and they should, he is a great person) I had a deep conversation with my partner years ago about marriage and how it would work because lots of people were saying to me that I may have to convert, the reply I got was, no I did not have to convert because Muslims are allowed to marry catholic’s, this made me feel tons better and I started to feel so excited for our future together. He has always said due to his religion he would need to get married the Right way, the Islamic way, this is when he spoke to an imam (a leader of a mosque and Muslim community who approves marriage). I understood this was very important to him and I felt happy about it. Around a week ago, he came back and said that all the imams he had spoken too refused to get us married unless I converted to Islam, he felt distraught as he knew early on that it’s something I couldn’t do, ( I wouldn’t say I’m a practicing catholic, however, I always planned to get better, due to the fact that my mum and dad who passed away when i was young took me and my siblings to church every sunday, they raised me this way and I owe it to them) and even if I did convert, it would be because I’m in love with him, that’s the wrong reason to convert , you need to love the religion and be committed to the way of life. There is no other option for us to be together unless I convert, I’ve tried. ( he is also heartbroken) So we’ve both said that it’s best that we separate ( I don’t say this lightly, we’ve both cried more than ever) . I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m torn apart, confused, shocked, and feel PHYSICAL PAIN, I always heard about heart break syndrome and said to myself surely not, wow, it’s f**king real, I can’t sleep and if I do, it’s an hour max. I wake up with my heart beating so fast I can’t even breathe, I want to cry at every second. I thought he was the one, but we want different things, I planned so much with this man. -please tell me this pain will heal. (I’m sorry this is so long)

Reply
Aidan

Oh my gosh. That was hurtful to read. I am an ex-Muslim. A Muslim man can marry a Christian as per Islamic law so I’m not sure what’s wrong with the imams he’s talking to. But regardless, you do not want to convert to Islam because you can’t leave Islam if you change your mind later. Read about Islam and apostasy. Maybe you should get him to leave Islam so you can just be a couple like everyone else. Islam forces people to get married. I pray for your wellbeing.

Reply
nermine

Hello, I have this same situation and it fcking suckss so much. I understand each and every word that you wrote

Reply
Jeanette

How long does it hurt for? Going on 3 years now and I’m starting to think the pain will last forever. 3 years of a steady release of cortisol can’t be good for my system.

Reply
Riya

Its because you allowed your pain to be alive. Our brain keeps reminding us ( because of the comfort that person provided) – everything is replaceable if we wish too. what if that person died? you would have moved on right?

People meet for a reason/lesson. You did not waste 30 years – so get back on track please.

Reply
T

Wow! It’s really eye opening and oddly helpful to read everyone’s stories. My girlfriend and I broke up officially a little more than a month ago now. It’s been an emotional journey for a long time as we were doing long distance before the pandemic hit. We hadn’t seen each other for a month and a half and then when quarantine hit we weren’t able to see one other for 4 month’s…. That was hard. I lost some of my passion for the relationship. Facetime wasn’t cutting it anymore, the depression of losing both our jobs from Covid was stressful, and I think both of our priorities just shifted… When we did finally get the chance to reunite it felt different. She was the same beautiful person I remembered but something was just off. I didn’t know how to be with her again and that hurt me. We both had our insecurities about how to proceed so she asked me all these question’s that now I’ve realized had answered poorly. I wanted to give her an answer but should have taken more time to process. This ended is us taking a break. That lasted about two weeks until I called her up and told her that ‘my life without you in any capacity is less light and I am ready to see you again’. We had both moved back to our parent’s houses temporarily in CA. I was in SoCal, she was in NorCal so I bought a car to help with commuting back and forth trying to balance taking care of my family, our relationship, COVID, and myself. This started to take it’s toll on me… I was no longer showing up as much as I needed to and that effected a lot of things. As time moved forward we both realized it was time to go back home. We were planned a road trip across the country that my girlfriend wanted to do. I was planning it for her cause I knew how badly she wanted to do it and I had been looking forward to it also. Had my share of concerns and worries about it but I was able to set that aside because I wanted this trip to help of relationship. So one thing led to another, I was in SoCal with my family and she was up North. I was still being a little distant over the phone cause I was dealing with some family stuff. That left my girlfriend uncertain about the trip and 2 days before we were supposed to leave she called me to say ‘I don’t think we should do this, and we should break up’ So we did…

A few months later I found myself back in the same city as her so we reconnected. And let me tell you, I fell in love with her all over again and I wanted her back. She told me she was afraid of getting hurt again so she became a little hesitant with me about how to proceed forward. Which I understood. I didn’t want to get hurt either. We were kinda playing games with each other for a few weeks. Feeling like we were dating again but really not confused me. We were both lonely and enjoyed each others presence and she said with me its ‘just easy’. I didn’t want to be someone’s easy, she didn’t want to get back together so to save us both the emotional confusion we split up for good…

I think of her everyday.

Reply
Emma

I just went through a deep breakup.
We’ve been dating for almost 2 years, anniversary is in a month. She was my first love and she was all I cared about for a long time.
I lost my virginity to her and I was always good to her throughout the time we were together I never abused her emotionally or physically. But when I wanted to have a conversation with her , she just told me she’s tired of the relationship and she’s been trying to break up with me for months even though I never did anything wrong and nothing happened.

She says she loves me but has a lot to deal with and understand about herself.

I’m so hurt right now I don’t even know how to process my thoughts and my mind feels frozen.

I can’t cry, I can’t feel the pain immensely.
But I was already preparing myself for this long before it happened.
I hope anyone going through this finds comfort.

Reply
Reanne L

Hi there…
I read your thoughts on break ups and this really helped me. I appreciate the information. I’m 22 years old and I’ve been in a relationship since high school for 6 years. Yup. We were high school sweethearts but the relationship was always on and off. When I went away to college we maintained the relationship but he would always lie to me. He even traveled to see me (12 hours away from our hometown) and still hid text messages from me, etc. When I returned back home for summer vacation I took a class at my local community College. A girl I thought they were just friends with sat next to me. She told me one time he got drunk and confessed his feelings for her a few months back. I was so confused because we were together during that time. Anyways, this was the first time I felt betrayed by him. I eventually forgave him and we got back together shortly after that incident even though I never let it go. When I graduated from college he even went to my ceremony. I studied abroad in England for 4 months, he flew out to visit me. We traveled to Italy and Amsterdam for Xmas. You get the picture. We have so many memories together. Despite being extremely toxic, I have love for him so much. I was so comfortable around him. When I came back from Europe last year, I moved in with him at his parents house. I got comfortable and stayed there not working or contributing to rent (his parents didn’t mind). My ex wanted to help me with commuting to work so he co-signed a car for me. Yes, we financed a car together. This was a bad idea…. Anyways, being stuck in a room together we would always argue. He never made effort to go out on dates or do anything. Now I will say for the past 6 years the relationship was never perfect. In fact, we do have a history of domestic abuse. Last September was the final straw. We got in an altercation and the cops were involved. I moved out of his house and from there it officially ended. I took the car and we both still did payments on it .We would still keep in contact with eachother but only for hookups. We would get hotels or have sex in the car at night. Never go out in the day or talk and get closure. My ex used me for sex and I accepted going back to him because it was my way of feeling loved and close to him, in the moment. A month ago on New years, I woke up and my car was gone. He traded it in for a new one. Was going to drop off my stuff in bags on my porch the next morning. Also, he met another girl and they both like eachother. Keep in mind, me and my ex hooked up 2 weeks before. On this day he took my car, I confronted him and he met me at a gas station. He told me he never loved me and it was just a bad attachment. He never loved me for 6 years. Is that even possible? While he was telling me all these hurtful things, he wasn’t looking at me in my eyes. He looked away. Couldn’t stare at me at all. He dropped me off my house and told me to move on and find someone better because he did. Its been a month and im still grieving. How can someone move on so quick when you were just talking to them weeks prior?? Its only been 5 months after we broke up and I miss him like crazy. I keep going back to him because he did message me for sex again. I asked him what happened to his new girl & he said they are “just friends.” I feel so used and I know its my fault for not valuing my self worth.

Reply
Riya

Be grateful that you learnt all these lessons at a early age:)

something good is waiting for you. Stay Positive.

Reply
John

I was with my girl for 8 years. November of 2020 she decided to leave me because of things we been through in the past. I love her deeply and sincerely and worked so hard to change my ways in order to be with her. I went against friends and family for her. I gave her all of me every piece inch by inch. Despite the things we put each other through I never expected her to just give up on me. I couldn’t leave her the way she left me. I feel like I was stripped of my life. I don’t have the urge to eat I can barely sleep, I’m always anxious and nervous, my chest constantly feels like I’m being pounded by a gorilla. I can’t stop the thought of her. I even have suicidal thoughts. I believe there is better for me but I only want her. My heart is literally in pain and I can feel that pain everyday and I have been feeling it for 3 months now. I’m lost and don’t know what to do.

Reply
Riya

Hi, I understand how it feels. Been there until Jan. I understand 8 years is huge investment and you reach a point where you feel that there is no goal and no happiness left. The suicidal thing is also a trick by brain ( to make her guilty) – She may cry for you for 2 weeks max and left moves on. The revenge is show her that you moved on!

This is what I did to move on:
1) I started writing everything I felt and emailed to myself with his name.
2) I allowed myself to cry.
3) I was also not able to focus on work but watched movies instead and felt better.
4) You will be lost and time is the healer.

Believe me – I am out of it, you will be too:) Keep smiling.

Reply
Tammy

My boyfriend of almost 3 years abruptly broke up with me 5 weeks ago and it could not have taken me anymore by surprise than it did although this is not the first time this has happened, this is the 3rd time. Every time it has been completely out of nowhere, happens the same time of year each time and he always blames me for why he is breaking up. He was married 14 yrs ago and she cheated on him and this time he broke up with me he said he feels like he thinks he can’t trust me right now but won’t tell me what I did to make him feel like that. And when I question him as to why he is doing this, he gets angry and threatens me with harassment charges or no contact orders. I have given this man my whole heart and soul and he has completely knocked the wind out of me by doing this and then add to it that he is being a jerk and that’s not helping my frame of mind. Some people think I should be over it by now but I am still very much devastated by what he has done and some days are worse than others as far as feeling like I have a huge void in my heart and my life. Any suggestions to help me deal with this. I feel completely lost and broken without him and don’t know what to do. He was always talking about our future together, we was making plans for our future and he had recently been making wife comments then all of a sudden, BAM he does this. I believe it is his own insecurities that’s causing all of this but I need help dealing with it or need some direction.

Reply
Rafael C

John,

No one should ever cause that much pain to another human being. Would you
feel good having to endure that the rest of your life. Take the lesson and run,

RC

Reply
K. Armstrong

Wow. who would have thought that a broken heart would lead me to google to people who are feeling exactly like me. Ruby I understand when you say how bad is feels that someone you invested in and loved and spent time with is now enjoying life without you while you sit and fall to pieces. I am angry at myself, I am angry at him, I feel like how dare you after all that I have done. I am confused and I just don’t understand. My friends are like girl get over it you will be fine. I know this but I dont feel fine today, yesterday and I dont think tomorrow. My stomache aches like a piece of my heart is letting off gases in it. I can’t sleep, I cant listen to the radio because the songs either remind me of him, or words i wish i could say now. The crazy part is I dont want to be back with him I just want this pain to go away for him to hurt like me and to discover that I was a good woman to me. But the reality of that happening is slim to none i actually have a better chance of my heart healing sooner than later. This article was amazing and deep it is crazy how the brain can get use to the presence of someone and actually grieve when that person is gone. Wow…

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our newsletter

We would love you to follow us on Social Media to stay up to date with the latest Hey Sigmund news and upcoming events.

Follow Hey Sigmund on Instagram

I LOVE being able to work with early childhood centres and schools. The most meaningful, enduring moments of growth and healing happen on those everyday moments kids have with their everyday adults - parents, carers, teachers. It takes a village doesn’t it.♥️
Thank you @lori.desautels!💕

“An amazing new children’s book by @karenyoung_heysigmund -  arrived this past week and I’m obsessed! Explores Polyvagal states in the most fabulous and understandable ways! Going to read to my 5th grade class today! Thank you Karen!! #childrensbooks #students #Ieducators #education”
Sydney! We’re coming to you. The Resilient Kids Conference is a one day event for parents and professionals who live and work with kids and teens. 

Can’t make it? There’s now an ONLINE option so you can watch from anywhere in the world, with the recording available for 4 weeks after the conference. 

I’ll be talking about anxiety in young people, but this information is relevant for ALL OF US. We need to  change the way we think about anxiety and respond to it - so let’s talk about how. I’ll give you practical, meaningful ways to support and strengthen your kids and teens with in ways that will serve them not just for now, but for the rest of their lives. 

Two things I know for certain. 1. All kids have it in them to be brave and do the things that feel bigger than them sometimes. 2. Parents and their important adults have the most profound capacity to strengthen kids and teens against anxiety and build their confidence and courage. 

I love these conferences and I know parents walk out feeling excited and empowered. 

Since 2016, the Resilient Kids Conferences have attracted up to 800 attendees at a single event. It is beyond beautiful to see parents, educators, and many other professionals stream through the doors in anticipation of a soul fulfilling experience. By the end of the day their faces are beaming, and so is our teams. It’s a community of people, redefining resilience together.

I’ll be joining Maggie Dent, Michelle Mitchell, and Dr Justin Coulson. In person, online and group license tickets are available for this event.

Tickets (online and live). Link in bio.
When times feel uncertain or your own anxiety feels big, come home to the things that make sense. 

Come home to each other, to stillness, to play, to rest, and conversation. 

Come home to listening more openly and caring more deeply, to nature, and warm baths, and being more deliberate, to fighting for what we can control, and the soft surrender to what we can’t. 

Come home to stories, and music, and to the safety of your tribe. 

Come home to that part of you that is timeless, and strong, and still, and wise, and which knows that, like everything that has ever felt bigger than you for a while, you will get them and you through this.♥️
Separation anxiety can come with a tail whip - not only does it swipe at kids, but it will so often feel brutal for their important adults too.

If your child struggle to separate at school, or if bedtimes tougher than you’d like them to be, or if ‘goodbye’ often come with tears or pleas to stay, or the ‘fun’ from activities or play dates get lost in the anxiety of being away from you, I hear you.

There’s a really good reason for all of these, and none of them have anything to do with your parenting, or your child not being ‘brave enough’. Promise. And I have something for you. 

My 2 hour on-demand separation anxiety webinar is now available for purchase. 

This webinar is full of practical, powerful strategies and information to support your young person to feel safer, calmer, and braver when they are away from you. 

We’ll explore why separation anxiety happens and powerful strategies you can use straight away to support your child. Most importantly, you’ll be strengthening them in ways that serve them not just for now but for the rest of their lives.

Access to the recording will be available for 30 days from the date of purchase.

Link to shop in bio. 

https://www.heysigmund.com/products/separation-anxiety-how-to-build-their-brave/

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This